Homes along the edge of the coast in Santa Barbara County, Calif., in 2005. (Patrick Barnard/Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center/U.S. Geological Survey) Like an ax slowly chopping at the trunk of a massive tree, waves driven by sea-level rise will hack away the base of cliffs on the Southern California coast at an accelerated pace, a recent study says, increasing land erosion that could topple some bluffs and thousands of homes sitting atop them. California officials from Santa Barbara to San Diego will face an awful choice as the sea rises , the U.S. Geological Survey study says: save public beaches enjoyed by millions, or close them off with boulders and concrete walls to armor the shore and stop the waves in a bid to save homes. The study predicts coastal land loss on an unimaginable scale over the remaining century, up to 135 feet beyond the existing […]